First-class navigation is the keystone of a pleasing web design and satisfied users. If you want your website to succeed, but don’t care about its navigation, you are flogging a dead horse! Without a captivating website layout and a good navigation structure, visitors won’t be able to find the needed information swiftly and smoothly. Luckily, we are going to provide you with eight golden rules you have to preserve when improving your UI design and website’s navigation.
Rule 1: Good Search Features
An in-site search feature is a must for any website! Search engines should always produce relevant, consistent and proper results. Even if a user misspells the name of a product or is looking for a product you don’t have on your page, the system has to somehow “understand” your customer. A good search shows similar items if there is not the exact one on your website, and “forgives” user’s typos, displaying things they want to find. A really cool search system processes synonyms, cases, various alternative writings and difficult inquiries.
Rule 2: Alt-text Images
Actually, in-site searches can’t see images like we do. Even when the image is the text itself, search engines are unable to see what’s written on it. Let them “understand” everything written on the image using alt-text. Alt-text is an awesome place for your keywords as well. However, you should obey some rules, when using alt-text images. Try to say a lot with a little and place images with alt tags near relevant texts. Want your site to be as visible as possible? Don’t lose this opportunity, and create alt attributes for each and every image on your page.
Rule 3: Clear Categories Division
In case your navigation is knotty and quite complicated, containing various categories, sub-categories and numerous sections, it should be clearly defined visually. For instance, you might distinctly separate category headings from sub-categories by multiple colors.
Rule 4: Consistent Navigation Titles
Use an accurate text on all components of your navigational menu as much as possible, so that visitors know which page exactly they are going to visit. Make it easier for website users to find information they are looking for!
Rule 5: Create Mobile-Friendly Responsive Design
According to statistics, the amount of mobile users by far exceeds the number of desktop users, so you should concentrate on a good website item layout for their smart phones. A skilled web designer implements all possible techniques to create a great User Experience design. If your page hasn’t been mobile-friendly yet, you’d better hurry up to correct this quite a significant mistake!
Rule 6: Avert Broken Links
Analyze all links on your website systematically, hunt down and replace those that don’t work any longer. You may clean all invalid references on your page using a program which finds dead links. A good example might be Broken Link Finder; this system checks every inappropriate link.
Rule 7: Take Notice of Website Traffic
Using Google Analytics you are able to see the whole route your visitors have covered on your website as well as the number of pages they have interacted with. Tracking a number of visitors, how long a page is being viewed or the most popular pages, you can subtly influence your users if you possess this kind of information. One more interesting solution is WebVisor. With the help of WebVisor users of Yandex.Metrica are able to reproduce visitors’ activity on the website in a video format. From user’s country, browser type and attendance duration to every keystroke and mouse movement - the system shows every click.
Rule 8: Apply Breadcrumbs
Use breadcrumb navigation for really huge websites and those that are hierarchically organized. Breadcrumbs are pretty convenient, since they reduce the number of actions visitors make in order to find a certain page, and indicate the location of the user within the website.
To recap, there will always be things to improve on your website. Everything is in your hands, so you have to regurlarly test your product and make it better. If you are aware of ins and outs of front end tricks and design patterns and, of course, if you follow these rules, your website navigation will be absolutely stunning!